Evicting a resident from your rental unit is one of the most challenging tasks a landlord can face. The eviction process is frustrating and can drain both your free time and money. As a landlord, you’ll want to avoid this as much as possible.
That being said, your only option may be to evict a tenant especially if the tenant is refusing to pay rent. If so, we’ve outlined the Idaho state eviction laws for you here so that you can ensure you’re following the law correctly when it comes to evicting someone from your rental unit.
Common Reasons for Landlords to Evict a Resident
There are many reasons why landlords may have to evict a resident from their rental unit. The following are the common reasons that many Idaho landlords have for this:
- Non-Payment of Rent: A tenant failing to pay rent when it is due is unarguably the most common reason why landlords evict their residents from their rental unit.
- Lease Violation: You are within your legal rights as a landlord to evict a resident for violating any terms of the rental lease. The lease is a contract and therefore obligates all parties to abide by its terms. Breaking a lease or any one of its terms is considered a valid legal reason to evict a resident. An example of a violation of the lease terms is keeping a pet in the rental unit when there is a “no pet” policy. At this point, a landlord can begin the termination of the tenancy.
- Excessive Rental Damage: Although normal wear and tear in the rental unit are to be expected, in some cases, the damage may go beyond holes in the wall and minor scuffs on the baseboards. Examples of excessive damage include a damaged or missing front door handle, a hole in the middle of a door or wall, or a smashed bathroom mirror or window.
- Disruption: Residents have the right to enjoy their rental unit in peace and quiet. In multifamily units, you may be within your legal right to evict a resident that causes repeated disturbances to other residents. For example, by throwing large, noisy parties.
- Illegal Purposes: You can also evict a resident for using the rented unit to conduct illegal activities at any point during the term of their residency, such as unlawful drug use.
- Holdover Resident: A holdover resident is one who refuses to leave once their term of the tenancy is over. You have the legal right to evict them from your rental unit.
Evicting a resident in Idaho, much like anywhere else in the country, requires that you follow the due process of the law. Making even the smallest of mistakes can be costly. Before beginning the eviction process, you must have the legal justification for doing so, such as a resident’s failure to pay rent.
When to Serve an Eviction Notice: Idaho Laws Regarding Termination With Cause
As a landlord, you must have a legal cause to evict your resident from your rental property before you begin the eviction process. You can’t just evict your resident because you don’t like them. A legal cause under Idaho law is defined as, among other things, non-payment of rent, lease agreement violation, or excessive damage.
To begin the eviction process for any of these reasons, you must first terminate the tenancy by giving your resident a notice. This notice will include various terms depending on the type of violation the resident has committed. Make sure to include the appropriate date on any notices that you serve your tenant.
For failure to pay rent, you must provide your resident a 3-Day Notice To Pay Or Vacate notice. Basically, this notice gives your resident two options: to either pay the due rent or move out of your rental property. If the resident does not follow the notice and pay rent or move out in the stipulated time (3 days), then you have the right order for their eviction.
For a lease violation, Idaho landlord-resident laws require that you must give your resident a 3-Day Notice to Comply or Vacate to begin the eviction process. This notice informs the resident that they have 3 days to either remedy or comply with the lease agreement or to move out. If they don’t take either of the two options, you can go to file for their eviction.
There is also the 3-Day Notice to Vacate. You must give it to a resident that causes serious damage or sublets the unit without your permission. Unlike the other notices, this type of notice doesn’t give your resident any option other than to move out within 3 days. If they do not move out within the 3 days, again, you can file for their eviction.
You won’t have to have a notice to evict a resident who involves themselves in drug-related matters in your rental. You can simply terminate their lease agreement immediately and file for an eviction.
How to Evict a Tenant Without Cause
If you don’t have a legal cause to evict your resident, you must wait until their lease expires. If they are on a month-to-month lease, you’ll have to give your resident a 30 days’ notice. In the notice, make sure to let the resident know that they have to move within the designated one-month period.
If they don’t comply after the 30 days, they are then a holdover tenant and you can have them evicted.
If they are on a fixed lease, rather than a month-to-month lease, you will also have to wait until their lease has expired before requiring them to move. Unless the lease requires it, you won’t have to notify your resident that they have to move out.
Possible Resident Eviction Defenses in Idaho
While landlords may have a legal cause and rights to evict their residents, the resident may still choose to fight the eviction. They may use one of the following common defenses that residents give to protest an eviction:
- The rental wasn’t habitable.
- The landlord overcharged the rent.
- The monthly rent amount being requested was different from the one on the lease agreement.
- Their landlord waited too long to file a lawsuit against them.
- The landlord refused to accept their full rent payments.
Use the time before your hearing to prepare for their defenses and have valid arguments against them.
Attending an Eviction Court Hearing
Once you begin an eviction lawsuit, the court will then schedule a trial date and notify the resident of it. The judge will provide both of you time to present your evidence as well as any witnesses. If you win the case, the judge will issue a judgment ordering law enforcement to carry out the eviction.
If you lose the case, however, your resident will remain in the rental.
Getting a Writ of Restitution
This writ of restitution is a document that gives the U.S. Marshals Service authority to schedule an eviction. If the resident fails to leave on their own after the order is issued, the Marshals will be left with no other option than to physically evict the resident, the time is determined when the judge issues the judgment. Landlords cannot attempt to use any self-eviction tactics to remove their residents.
Image Source: Shane T. McCoy / US Marshals via https://www.flickr.com/photos/usmarshals/29008528483
To have a successful eviction as a landlord in the state of Idaho, you have to follow the legal eviction process. Attempting to self-evict as a landlord by turning off the heat or electricity, removing the front door of the home, taking the resident’s belongings, or changing the locks of the home is illegal in the state of Idaho. Only a court of law has the right to legally evict a resident from your home.
Disclaimer: This blog is meant to be informational for you as a landlord, and is in no way a substitute for the service and legal advice from the business of a qualified attorney. An attorney well-versed in the Idaho law will be able to answer all of your legal questions. An attorney can also guide you through the complicated court process and determine your rights as a landlord.
If you require more assistance than an attorney can provide or have questions regarding the eviction laws, please consider hiring the service of a professional management business, such as Five Star Property Management. Our business service can help you find good tenants so that you don’t have to worry about evicting them.